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Moore & Kearsley
For the senior employees of an institution -- its managers -- 1 of the main responsibilities in strategic planning. This involves a number of processes, including: defining a vision and a mission, goals, and objectives for the institution or program regarding distance education, choosing among options so that the priority goals can be achieved with acceptable quality and with the available resources, continuous assessment of changing trends in students, business, and societal demands, tracking emerging technological options that might make for a greater efficiency, and projecting future resources and financial needs and taking actions to meet them.
Defining the Mission
at the institutional level and the same could be said of the state and federal levels strategic planning begins with the defining a mission, a long-term direction based on a concept of the place of the institution in society, usually based also won a self-awareness of its role historically. Not to have such a self-awareness levels of administrative and teaching staff of an institution without a secure point of reference when faced with decisions to be made arising from many changes that take place in the social and economic environment in which they have to plan and deliver their programs. Since there is an almost infinite variety of potential distance education market the organization leadership needs to be explicit about what is attempting to serve, how, and why. Otherwise as they tried to be all the things to all people they're likely to spread their resources to thinly to survive in a competitive educational market. Certainly mission statements must not become a drag on flexibility or readiness to respond to new opportunities and so should be reviewed periodically expressly by lawless tabs institutions were the size and location of their student catchment area is likely to change as technology changes. A good illustration of the importance of the mission as both an anchor for policy in the institution as well as a guide to decisions about change is seen in state universities that have their distance education programs historically grounded in the land-grant tradition of service and outreached residents of the state. It is the job of the institution management to supply of the resources of e.g. people, facilities, time, money needed to achieve its mission and to articulate policies that enabled administrators to select goals and objectives that are realizable within the limits of those resources.
Deciding Whether to Proceed
Before proceeding to invest in a distance education program and institution Management must first consider it distance education is appropriate at all in fulfilling its mission and if it is being to make choices among the various alternative courses that could be offered. One aspect of this checking that there is a real demand and one that is likely to be sustained for it. Generally this would be indicated by market research data showing that there is sufficiently large number of interests students it is also is necessary to examine demographic envisage trains see what changes might be expected in the future that might impact courses and programs. For example changes in immigration patterns that affect the multicultural makeup of the US population means that some colleges that have specialize in multilingual courses may see a new opportunity in distance education. For the trend for multiple to work at home or to have some businesses may create a bigger market for Oakley develop programs of distance education business topics specific to a particular region. In the past it was quite often found a greater demand exist for educational courses that revealed a normal market research procedures. In other words by supply new courses and institutions might stimulate demand for it with the ease with which programs can be offered through a new information and communication technologies the challenge now is correctly identified in a niche market; that is, the subject or population that an institution conserve better than any of its competitors. Also before deciding to proceed to design and to offer a course the manager must be convinced that there is both the technology and -- more difficult than it may appear the staff people will of designing and teaching the course. Unfortunately it is common for the decision to go hit to be taken after there has been a check of the technology but not at the human resources needed to use it properly. A surprisingly number managers seem to think that faculty and trainers can simply add teaching at a distance to their existing workloads. In equally surprising number of property and trainers think so, too. The result can be a low-quality program and eventually disillusionment that would have been best avoided not going into the distance education field in the first place. Further before proceeding managers have to decide if they will be able to recover the cost of investing in a course or program and how they would do it. We know that a considerable amount of investment costs will be involved as equipment is purchased, new staff hired, and other retrained. Some institutions have been able to obtain grants from philanthropic organizations while others have to come up with the venture-capital and worked out how to recover this in tuition fees after the courses are produced. Some projection on this issue is essential, therefore before the decision to proceed is taken. What is not possible is to expect income from tuition to pay for investment costs in the very short term. Again such a policy is a recipe for low-quality and disillusionment. Before deciding to proceed managers also have to consider issues relating to faculty, vertically the effect on workload, compensation, and ownership of course materials. In face-to-face institutions considering moving to distance education will a course be treated as equipment to teaching a traditional class even though more time in design and online interaction is likely? At the most extreme there are universities were faculties have gone on strike because the impact of their workload has been in and we considered prior to the decision to set up a distance education program. Other problems have arisen and are likely to arise in the future regarding who should own the ideas and information contained in the course, professional who created them, or the institution that publish them. Various solution to these questions have been arrived at but whether the solution they are questions that are best tackled before the decision is made to proceed into distance education. Finally before deciding to proceed managers must take a hard look at the problem of sustainability. As challenging as it is to get a distance education program started it is an even bigger challenge to sustain it over the long term. This is demonstrated by a study of Berge and Kearsley 2003, of 31 corporate nonprofit and government organizations that have previously been reported as having started online distance education programs. The authors describe the problems that follow a successful start a and reached the general conclusion that distance education has grown more slowly than predictions over the past decade because it has not been sustained in many organizations asked that is, it keeps getting reintroduced.
The quality of the course delivered at a distance of the quality of the students experience will to some extent and on the particular delivery system used so that the management decisions about what technology to purchase will have a significant effect on the cost-effectiveness of institution and its programs. In this periods of intense development of Internet
based distance education the decision concerns the relative merits of different course management systems. The administrators responsible for choosing from among various systems have been considered the merits of each system for presenting course materials and also for providing interaction between learners and teachers but they also have to consider differences in cost. For example, angel has an annual license fee determined by the number of users while blackboards fee structure is not tied to the number of uses in the course. Or help in deciding which manages system will be best for one's institution managers and their advisers can use an online resources that compares different systems.
Administering the Program
The administration of a distance education program includes all the major events and activities that support any formal educational process. They include: deciding what courses to offer, diminished during the process of designing and implementing the course, appointing, training, and supervising academic and administrative staff, informing potential students about what courses are available and how to join them, Registry applicants and administering admissions procedure, collecting fees, administering scholarships, and keeping accounts, setting up and running and structural and counseling services to students, administering student evaluation procedures, awarding grades, certificates, diplomas, and degrees, locating and maintaining library's and study centers, obtaining and maintaining technology, especially servers and other computer
hardware, and continuously monitoring the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the program. The extent and complexity of administrative activities will vary according to the type of distance education system thus, in many programs instructors do much of the administration of the courses linked to the resources of the campus administrative system. At other extremes in a single course mode institutions and an entire department will deal with a group of different administrative activities -- particularly recruitment, restriction, finance, and evaluation. As traditional institutions convert to dual mode they decide the special needs of distance learners make it more efficient to set up specialists administrative units alongside such traditional departments as the bursar’s office or registrar's office.
Once the decision to enter the distance education feel has been taken one of the most important task for the miniatures is to identify from the existing staff -- or otherwise to recruit and in training -- the individual who will be needed to set up and run the program -- or to set up and run an institution if it is a new institution that is to be established. The staff that is needed includes: subject experts usually the academic of the teaching institution, instructional designers, instructors to teach courses once they have been designed, specialists and learner support, technology experts and technicians will set up and maintain the communication systems, administrator such as program directors, course managers, and site coordinators, clerks who process enrollments, grades, or materials, and managers such in Deans, presidents, and other executives.
Deciding on Full-versus Part-time Staffing
One of the most challenging questions associated with staffing is whether to appoint full-time or part-time employees and what combination of each. In general the higher the ratio of part-time to four times that the lower the average cost of providing the course teach student. The principal or division of labor that we introduced in chapter 1 supports the idea of having instructors with primary professional skill is interacting with students leaving other people to design, produce commented over the course learning materials. Such professionals become skillful at in a blink each students to have a high quality of personal relationship with a teacher in spite of distance. Because there is a limit to the number of students that instructor can interact with it becomes prohibitively expensive for institution to maintain a large number full-time instructors for this purpose as well as content experts instructional designers, learner support staff, technologist, administrative staff. It becomes more feasible to provide a good student instructor ratio if part-time staff can be engaged in this instructor role. Having part-time staff also allows the Organization to adapt is curriculum more quickly to changing needs and then maybe possible if it has a staff locked into a curriculum that may have been more relevant 10 or 20 years earlier. In general there for hiring instructors on a part-time basis makes for better quality as well as greater cost-effectiveness. But it is a difficult policy to implement in many institutions. In a single mold University it is the normal practice to have full-time staff develop courses usually supplemented with part-time consultants and the end to depend on part-time instructors (tutors) to teach the course. In American universities it is more common for full-time faculty for the university to provide both content and instruction, though it is increasingly common for part-timers including graduate students and adjunct faculty to act as instructors. Other organizations such as school district will corporate training departments may hire consultants as writers, editors, where producers, graphic artists and programmers to design and develop courses and use full-time teachers or trainers to provide the instruction. Managers and administrative staff are usually permanent full-time positions.
Training and Orientation of Staff
Whether full-time or part-time it is imperative that all staff understand distinctive character of distance education including an appreciation of many positive character was learning and distance home or work environment. They need to appreciate the difficulties that distance education students experience and must know how to be helpful, and want to be helpful. As compared with the past there are a few of faculty in traditional institution who disparage distance learner but good intentions are not enough to make good educators. Training is needed and organizing there is an important responsibility of administrators. After the initial training staff should be monitored continuously and provided with ongoing in-service training to enable them to develop their skills and keep up-to-date. Most training is likely to be in-house and on the job. Some members of the staff might be enrolled in one of the various online training programs.
Staff Monitoring and Assessment
Once appointed and trained both academic and other staff should be monitored and evaluated to ensure the quality and effectiveness of their work. The idea of the and systematically monitored has not been understood in academia as long as it has been in the business and industrial worlds or indeed in training departments of the Armed Forces or in school districts. It is essential part of the system approach however. A means has to be set up for gathering data readily and evaluating it so that interventions can be made for remedial training where weaknesses in the delivery system are identified. Among this kind of data to be gather and responses from students and faculty themselves about how satisfied they are with course products and be teaching procedures as well as the learning accomplished.
Learner Support Centers, Libraries, and Teleconference Sites
Although an increasingly large range of learning materials and services for distance learners and and now delivered by means of the Internet
there are still some they cannot be inserting there are some services that are better provided face-to-face and/or in group settings by audio-or video teleconferences. A pure distance learning method may be unsuitable for teaching his subjects such as interpersonal relations for trainee counselors or for trainee teachers will need classroom practice or where potential dangerous results could occur without professionals provision as in teaching chemistry. In such cases administrators have to identify laboratory facilities schools for teaching practice, and so on. Contracts may have to be drawn up, fees paid, and other responsibilities incurred in the use of these facilities that lie outside the immediate control of the distance teaching institution. Setting up and maintaining learning centers require many administrative decisions including: where learning center should located, when they should be open, what facilities and equipment are needed, what staff administrative and academic they should have, how they should relate to the main campus, and how they should be funded.
most education certainly that University level requires students to undertake some research that uses materials beyond what is provided by the instructor. A great challenge foreign ministers of distance education has now been to provide library resources that could compare with what work available to students on campus. In 1967 the Association of colleges and research library's release formal guidelines for providing the needs of distance learners. These guidelines were updated in 1982, 1990, and in 1998 the Association of College and research libraries sections are guideline committee, in 1998. With the arrival of the Internet
the problem has become much leisure to deal with. Academic libraries are beginning to add dedicated distance education Liberians to their staff. Central Michigan University for example employs seven full-time librarians for this kind of service. In Florida, distance learners anywhere in the state have access to dedicated distance education Liberians that the Florida distance learning reference and referral Center. Another way of academic libraries have responded to the needs of distance learners is through the formation of partnerships. Walden University and accredited distance base graduate school formed an alliance with Indiana University to allow Walden students to make full use of the Indiana University library's resources. ILLINET a consortium of 40 academic libraries in Illinois provides cooperative borrowing arrangements for members students as well as maintaining a common online catalog. In California, nine campuses of the University of California forms the California Digital library, which is accessible to the public, and provides online searches and periodical database indexing over 100,000 titles available throughout the state. He Pennsylvania State University is part of several library cooperatives including the virtual electronic library and the consuming academic library connection initiative. The virtual electronic library provides mutual borrowing among the Big 10 universities and the University of Chicago. Online catalogs such as library-spot, ECO (electronic collections online), and the world-cat (both of which are maintained by the online computer
library center), provide online users with access to my very resources, catalogs, and information systems. In 1996 survey of academic libraries found that of the 74 respondents, only three indicated that they were not actively supporting their institution distance education programs.
Teleconference Learning Sites
With the arrival of the Internet
there has been a decline in the interest on the part of many institutions setting of teleconference learning sites. It is certainly less trouble for the administrator in an institution that delivers instructional program to the students’ home computer
than one that delivers by satellite -- at least regarding the arrangement at the interface between the learner and the system. There are still many programs delivered to learning sites, however, and in a good system there would be an integration of technologies. For an institution using this technology to major problem for administrators are to ensure that the learning site is in a good location that it is well-run and that the staff and equipment are working properly. The size of the learning site can range from a small conference room for a group to four to five participants to a large auditorium with hundreds of people. The most important administrative decision to be made is who is to be the coordinator. There are also many decisions needed about allocation of resources to this delivery system, levels of tuition fees, marketing strategies, and evaluations.
Of all of these areas that administrators must deal with the budgeting is probably the most difficult. Budget decisions are basically about priorities and resources allocations. Administrators should always be concerned with the question of cost effectiveness -- are they getting the best value for the money they spend? This question comes in when making decisions at the most general level of policy e.g. what types of courses the institution will deliver, the most specific e.g. whether the price of a proposed textbook might have a negative effect on the student enrollment. When making up the budget some of the most important decisions administrators make our how much to spend on: developing new courses, buying new technology, hiring academic staff, paying for student support services, running learning centers, running the administration, and marketing their program. The main question is what related proportion of funds and resources should allocated to each of these categories. For example should more of the budget goal toward developing new courses, supporting the existing one's, hiring more academic staff, or improving facilities? In theory, allocating funds among the different item should be based upon a careful analysis of the needs of the distance education program including current deficiencies and opportunities. For example is student evaluation data indicates that students are dissatisfied with the level of interactivity and courses more money could be allocated to buying a new delivery system that allows more interaction, two workshop to train teachers and interactive techniques or to simply hire more instructors to reduce the student-to-instructor ratio. On the other hand if the data from the market research indicates that more students will enroll will get more or certain courses were offered it could be argued that course development should receive a larger share of the budget. Decisions have to be made and in order to make the best decisions is necessary to have reliable evaluation data all aspects of the organizations distance education efforts.
Budgeting and Different Levels
Budget decisions must be made at many different levels: institutional, departmental, programmatic, and in administering individual courses. Each level of decision-making is likely to have different priorities. For example, senior administrators are likely to be concerned with preserving enough money to support marketing projects with a view of keeping up enrollments and thus revenue, whereas faculty are likely to take this background activity for granted and to be preoccupied with maintaining student support services or the number of academic staff which date associate with maintaining quality. Differences like these mean that budget decisions are often accompanied by power struggles within the organization as each constituency attempts to obtain as big a share of the budget as possible. To avoid the struggles turning into acrimonious conflicts administrators must continually emphasized that budget decisions will be made on the basis of data, and that all groups wishing to influence the budget must present data to justify the request or plans.
Budgeting the Administration
One of the most difficult budget categories for administrators to allocate funds is the administration itself. Most administrators feel pressure to run a lean and mean operation having the smallest administrative staff as possible l. If taken too far however this can be counterproductive if it results in an administrative function that is understaffed and not able to run things efficiently. Money spent in running a good performance marching unit would for example almost certainly be a good investment. Similarly good management means extensive planning and this need market research and other studies which are more difficult to justify to the faculty for the public van creating new courses, hiring more academics staff, or buying new technology. On the other hand, it is true the institution sometimes get top-heavy with administrations that consume an inordinate amount of the budget while producing less than an equivalent benefit. Just like administrators and other units in the organization's senior administrators must continually collect cost-effectiveness data on their ministry of operations justify the portion of the budget that they are allowing to spend.
Budgeting the resources of the time may seem a little strange to people who have only worked in traditional education whether all instruction is organized in a very familiar pattern of class sessions and semesters of fixed the durations. In schools and colleges most of the attention given to budgeting time is a matter of developing and reorganizing schedules timetables for students and teachers. Indeed more love for funding and accrediting such schools are usually based upon student attendance and scheduled classes. In most forms of distance education this kind of scheduling is far less significant. Instead of ministers have to budget the time of the many individuals that make up a course team during the often lengthy process of designing a course and then they have to schedule the instructional staff during its implementation. Because of course material must people peered in advance of their use -- and some of these, such as video recordings, may need Meany Munster produced -- it is essential that a well defined schedule be developed and maintained. Usually this takes the form of a work plan that lists all of the tasks that must be completed, the deadlines for each task, and who is responsible for completing the task. It is the responsibility of the administrator in charge of distance education program to ensure that development schedule is followed so the materials and programs all come together and are ready when the student and structure appears begin the interactive phase of the program. At that time there will need to be a widely distributed schedule for such activities as course registration and tuition payments; and a schedule of dates for the completion of the course assignments, examinations, and graduation procedures. Other major scheduling tests are involved if there is a teleconferencing, such as booking a room at teleconference site; and if the institution is delivering a program as well as receiving it, time on the satellite has to be scheduled with the telecommunications company. Popular methods applied in scheduling design of courses on the program evaluation and review technique, the critical path method, and the Gantt chart. Each technique results in a chart. Program evaluation and review technique charts show each task and its planned duration with each task connected to its successor in a network of nodes and connecting lines. A critical path method chart is similar to a program evaluation and reviewing technique chart, with a critical path showing the set of cash that together task of the longest time to complete and which receive special attention. A Gantt chart is the matrix with the past listed on one axis and with the horizontal axis indicating such variables at the time to be given to the task, and skill needed to perform it, and the person responsible for it.
Scheduling the Student
in correspondence courses students usually set their own schedules and pace themselves toward completing course. Most programs established a maximum period e.g. six months for one year within which time the course must be completed. With this time. Students can complete their assignments and examinations according to their own timetables. Some programs allow open enrollment, while others specify certain registration periods. On the other hand programs that involve teleconferencing or television broadcast usually have a fixed class schedule with well-defined beginnings and ending dates. The general practice with online distance education is to deliver a course according to a strict schedule with groups of students enrolled very much like they do for a conventional class. Most students find this more rigid structure and pasting to be helpful in completing the course. It is important that such schedules are reasonably planned and take into account the most amount of work involved and allows sufficient turnaround time for delivery of assignments.
Although everyone in it educational institution has a role to play in producing high-quality instruction, administrators are responsible for its measurement and for using the data gathered in taking action to improve. In one way or another all administrative activities discussed can be evaluated in the search for data pertaining to quality. There are a number of other factors that might be monitored, including: number and quality of applications and enrollments, student achievement, student satisfaction, faculty satisfaction, program/institutional reputation, and quality of course materials. Each of these factors reflects different aspects of the quality of an institution's products and services. Continually increasing or stable rates of applications and enrollments suggest the organization is doing a good job of tracking demographic and socio- economic variables and tailoring its offerings to real needs. It may also be considered to be an indicator of satisfactory teaching and good word-of-mouth promotion by satisfied students. Students’ achievement should be one other aspects of quality measurement that receives most attention. This is not difficult to monitor in the short-term -- but it is difficult to assess in the long term. In professional fields where students have to take certification exams e.g. law, medicine, engineering; it is possible to examine the achievement of students relative to other institutions. However, the kind of student achievement data that would be most valuable namely job performance or were confidence evaluation is almost impossible to obtain due to the complexities of conducting studies in the workplace. Most programs usually settle for anecdotal information about the impact of their courses, collected from interviews of graduates. Student satisfaction data is important and relatively easy to collect. It is standard practice for students to be evaluated course and its conclusion, being asked to rate or comment on the content, course organization, the instructor, instructional materials, and delivery system. Such data is usually scrutinized by the course manager and sometimes the department head or Dean. This provides at least a minimal check on the quality of course as far as the perception of students are concerned. However student satisfaction data is far from an infallible measurement of how effective the course is in terms of students learning, nor does it assess the validity or relevance of the content taught. Similarly, faculty satisfaction may be a useful measure provided its subjective character is also kept in mind. Faculty can access the extent to which existing teacher strategies and materials appeared to be effective whether student support services are adequate and whether courses appeared to meet the needs of students were their employers. Most faculty are concerned to be effective teachers and are likely to make recommendations that they believe will improve their effectiveness. Taken together the variables listed above that it to a general reputation for quality, which is to a large extent reflected in institution enrollments. If graduates are satisfied with their courses and employers who will hire of those graduates are satisfied with their job performance they will all speak well of the program and this will result in further enrollments. Institutions may spend considerable sums of money on marketing and promotional efforts aimed at establishing a brand image of being a high-quality organization. Finally it is possible for administrators and others to assess the quality of their course materials for their teaching in terms of standards established by a national associations. For example, the University continuing education Association has a distance learning community of practice, one of the purposes of which is to determine information about the practice. It encourages good practice with a series of awards, including a distance learning course or ward and a program of excellence award. The American Association of collegiate independent study evaluates independent study courses for its annual awards.
A Realistic Assessment of Quality
Following a study of six selective colleges and universities (Compora), and what is probably a realistic conclusion about quality beyond the specific cases he said he and pointing to areas in which all institutions would probably do better. He reported there appears to be a discrepancy between the literature cited and the actual practice of the institutions surveyed and concluded: programs specific mission statements are inadequately developed, programs are often implemented in the absence of the needs of assessments, program generally target and tailor programs to a certain type of distance education students, institutions overwhelmingly are creating their own online courses, courses are approved for distance delivery with little consistency and there is little use of carpal approval system, delivery methods are often selected based on availability of technology as opposed to a systematic design process, instructors generally teach distance education courses based on their willingness rather than their expertise, student to not appear to be getting the support they need, little data about matriculation is being gathered making evaluations of the effectiveness of program difficult, no specific trends are note regarding a dedicated budget for distance education programs, there is an absence of marketing strategies, and there is little consistency on how evaluation information is used.
Regional Accrediting Commissions
In higher education, the regional accrediting commission have published guidelines for institutions offering electronically delivered distance education that can be useful for ministers in their internal quality assessments. Most of the guidelines would apply equally well in the fields of practice the size higher education. Distance education and training Council commission was established in 1955 and is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for higher education accreditation to a credit distance education postsecondary programs including the first professional degree level. The commission established educational, ethical, and business vendors; it examines and evaluates distance education institutions in terms of these thunder; and a credits those who qualify. His accrediting program employs procedures to those of other recognized educational accredited agencies.
Policy: Institutional, State, and Federal
Some of the decisions that managers face mentioned earlier in this chapter, such as determining and modifying an institutions mission for deciding when to proceed in a particular programming direction our policy decisions. And institutions policy or that of a state, regional organization, or federal authority is relatively general set of principles against what administrators can test plans, proposals, or ideas for specific actions. If, for example, in institution has a policy agreed to with its stock which he that there will be a certain ratio of full-time to part-time teachers hired at that institution, distance education administrators know the limits of the options open to them in planning the human resources needed for the delivery of new courses. Or, to take another example if institutions make a policy that all its programs will be delivered on the Internet
and do will be no video teleconferencing a boundary has been set within which they have to make their administrative decisions regarding the purchase of new technology. Making policy and ensuring it stays up-to-date requires a concentrated effort on the part of the institutions management. In fact it is too easy for managers to become so distracted by day-to-day administration that the attention they should give to renewing the policy framework on which everything else is founded can too easily become neglected. In dual mode institutions were distance education in balls, for example, new working arrangements that depend on collaboration among previous separated departments or where it might be necessary to divert resources of money in people's time from conventional teaching, it will be essential to have a systematic way of engaging the staff in the process of formulating new policies for renewing old ones on an ongoing basis. At the state and federal level there is a similar need for policy review and for setting up new policies that are appropriate to the electronic age. Since elected officials are likely to be involved in this process and they are, of course, not expected to be educational professionals, a process of explaining and educating has to go on to prepare them to consider the policy changes needed at those levels.
Policy barriers to distance education are failing -- in the first edition of this book we explained that among the reasons for this slow rate of development of distance education where barriers thrown up by policies that were designed to support an older model of education, which actually have impeded the evolution of new systems. These policy barriers could be found at federal, regional, state and institutional levels. It is now apparent that the situation has improved significantly.
At the Federal Level
THEN: barriers included the criteria used to determine what programs are eligible for federal funding, which are biased toward traditional provision. NOW: more generous treatment of distance education exists. In particular, there have been changes in the US Department of Education policy on the infamous 12 hour rule which stated that financial aid can only be given to students will attend a face-to-face classroom at least 12 hours a week. Another policy area at the federal level were there has been progress concerns changes in the copyright loans. Both the Digital millennium copyright act of 1998 and be technology in education and copyright harmonization act of November 2002 sets policy to restrictions on using materials in distance education courses.
At the Regional Level
THEN: criteria applied in giving institutions their official accreditation to teach are based on the practices of campus based learning, faculty centered teaching, and classroom base instruction. NOW: all regional accrediting commissions have adopted distance education criteria in their procedure for evaluating distance education programs when institutions in their jurisdictions undergo the accreditation process. At state level -- --THEN: there are mechanisms that drive continuing investment in brick and mortar education, and prevent the expenditures that would establish virtual universities based on telecommunications networks. The typical funding formula that states used to decide on allocation of resources, being based on numbers of traditional daytime students, systematically generates on-campus classroom space for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. teaching, and under-provides not only the communications technology but also the building facilities needed for off-campus learner support and instruction for distance learners. NOW: most states are investing in statewide virtual delivery systems.
At the Institutional Level
THEN:... the barriers include some of the administrator structures and procedures that are supposed to serve students but often inappropriate for distance learners. They found in the rules and regulations concerning registration, tuition payment procedures, student support services, library services, examinations, and most especially the provision of instruction at times and places convenient to the learner. NOW: huge improvements at institutional level. Policy is obviously a dynamic concept; the following are some of the areas where policy is still unsettled and is being made as you read this.
Institutional: Faculty Policy
Among the most difficult areas regarding distance education policy in educational institutions concerns faculty especially their compensation, workload, and intellectual property rights. Policy varies considerably between institution and even within institution regarding the rights and responsibilities of Dr. regarding both courses nine and subsequent teaching of the course. At some institutions the policy on compensation for design is for the full-time faculty develop courses for no additional payment with this effort considered part of their normal workload. Other institutions recognize that the level of effort and creativity in designing distance education courses greater than preparing for a course in residence and have established an additional compensation policy when it comes to the delivery of courses one option is for full-time faculty to provide the instruction as part of their low, some institutions treat it as an overload for extra compensation while others depends on part-time faculty to do this. The impact of distance education work on the rental workload is matter of concern to most property. In particular at the university level faculty have to give a high encouraging to their research and to having the results that researched published. This is usually required for faculty to obtain a chain your position and to qualify for promotion. Whereas traditional measures of teaching, scholarship (publications in refereed journals), and services are included in the promotion and tenure formula, work related to innovative instructional products, including those for distance education are not generally given comparable recognition. Thus it becomes necessary if an institution is serious about distance education that it modifies its promotion and tenure policies to give credit for the time spent in designing and delivering course. Another aspect of the work problem in the instructors need for additional training on the use of technologies and learning the pedagogy of teaching at a distance. As the need for training becomes apparent a policy is needed that rewards participation in training and allows the allocation of resources for this.
Implementing Institutional Change
Most educational and training institutions share three significant problems in introducing distance education. They are: an academic culture that views teaching as an individual's act in a classroom, a policymaking structure dominated by staff were satisfied with the system that gave them power, and an administrative system in which technological and human resources are fragmented in a multilayered structure of faculties and apartments, each of which regards its own interests. There is no simple strategy for change for them ensured his face with these issues but there are some steps that seemed to be productive. The first step is to identify the innovator in the organization the small number of people at every level who are interested in change. These people should be encouraged with money and in other ways, to organize themselves and to develop a consensus of ideas about distance education and strategies for bringing change to their organization. The recognition of potential stakeholders is critical. The kind of change needed to establish in distance education system cannot be brought about entirely from the bottom of the institutions and definitely needs leadership from the senior management. On the other hand, low-level support from senior management has to be generated, true it is likely to be in a limited number of areas within the institution. The second step is for the innovator to be an able to undertake a demonstration project. Institutional change will not occur as a result of argument, reasoning, or persuasion alone. The majority of members of the institution will not become persuaded of the viability of distance education in show they see the process of work, see that he can prove a good standard of teaching, and see the achievements of the students. They will lose fear of change as they see the professional satisfaction of the peers who engaged in the distance teaching activity. It is vital that the demonstration projects are of the highest possible standards since failure or mediocre results will have exactly the opposite effect from what is desired. For this reason it is imperative that financial, technological, and human resources are ruthlessly focused. The temptation to spread resources over a number of projects must be resisted. For that to happen the organization needs what is probably the most important ingredient if change is to occur which a high level management with a strong vision of distance education encouraged to implement. Given such leadership and a team of innovators resources can be organized with the aim of showing how a distance education system works. All technologies of the institution must be brought into play; a institution that aspires to deliver programs on a national or even state level several million dollars are likely to be required to design, produce, and deliver a single demonstration project of sufficient quality.
A National Policy Issue: the Digital Divide
A relatively new problem that has been getting attention from policymakers at all levels is that of the digital divide -- defined as the gap between those who have and those who do not have access to the digital technology that is in an essential prerequisite for online learning. As described by Damarin 2000, there are several classes of access to digital technologies: those who state of the art computers
and subscribe to an Internet
service, those who have access to computers
and the Internet
at work/library/or other location/and know how to use them, and those who have rare or minimum access to computing technologies and little facility with them, and those experience their everyday lives untouched by computer
and information technologies. The national telecommunication information administration has reported on specific groups in the US affected by the digital divide. An engine NBA report, falling through the net: defining the digital divide, describes accessibility by race, income, education, and geographic areas. The 1999 report also identified trends in connectivity from 1984 until the time of the study. Although the national telecommunication information administration found that the number of communications is on the rise, the number of connections for the ‘haves’ are growing at a faster rate than the ‘have-nots’ and thus has continued to grow. A study by the progressive policy Institute 1999 ranked the 50 states on how well they are adapting to the new economy. Using criteria such as the number of high-tech jobs, quality of education technology, percentage of population online, commercial Internet
domains, and available venture capital, the report identifies a clear geographic pattern. The West Coast and eastern seaboard from New Hampshire to Virginia on the most privileged, and the deep South and the upper Midwest lagged far behind.
Policy Initiatives to Reduce the Digital Divide
The US federal government policy initiatives have included: the Department of Commerce has a strategy for making computers
and the Internet
accessible, and monitoring the levels of activities in relation to income, education, race, gender, geography, and age; encouraging applications that enable low income Americans to start and manage their own small businesses. The department of education's community technical Center program has provided money to develop model programs to demonstrate the educational effectiveness of technology, especially in economically distressed communities. The star school program has allocated more than 125 million since 1988 to support demonstration projects that use technology to provide programs and activities in underserved areas. The technology literacy challenge fund is allocating $2 billion over five years to help states and local districts meet the administration's educational technology goal. Lessons learned from grant programs and educational technology initiatives are disseminating, with an emphasis on underserved citizens. Giving tax advantages for businesses providing technology to school libraries, community centers, and individual in low income areas the E-rate. Private sector -- policy initiatives from the private sector include: providing low-cost Internet
access and computers
, funding community computing centers, and encouraging IT professionals to do volunteer training.
Case study in National Policymaking
To obtain an idea of the difference in approach to policy about distance education in the US compared to that of some other countries -- where it is not only the availability of technology that occupies policymakers, but the development and improvement of a system of program design and delivery -- considering the following, which contains extracts from an official government document from the Republic of South Africa. There, the national Ministry of education was considering a proposal to merge the country single mode distance education University, the University of South Africa, with its largest technical school (Technikon) and a teacher training program (Vista) into a single organization. The student body of the new organization would be over a quarter of a million students, generated nationwide. The difference between American priorities that focus on technology ahead of organizational change could hardly be more striking.
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